15 Antiphonals: for Haroldo de Campos, as a new publication

[The antiphonals that follow have just been published – in time for my birthday (today) – as a small hand-stitched paperback by sine wave peak in Edinburgh.  The poems themselves were part of a commission from Francesco Conz, for work to be added to a series of large colored photo portraits of Haroldo de Campos. As my contribution to what was conceived as a group tribute, I took phrases & lines from English translations of Haroldo’s poetry & responded to them with loosely rhymed soundings of my own. I then handwrote the poems pair by pair onto a black left margin on each of the photographs. In the typographical version below, Haroldo’s words appear in italics, while mine are shown in roman type. For me at least, the resultant work has the feel of translation/transcreation – as still another instance of othering.  They appear in the new edition in a noticeably different format. (J.R.)]

 

(1)

burnt by asthma

churn’d miasma


(2)

a blind nail
oiling
sun’s axis

a kind whale
spoiling
nun’s praxis


(3)

the malice of the mastery

the chalice of her chastity


(4)

the crux of the incredible

the flux of the inedible


(5)

mirrormoon in the mirage

silver spoon for persiflage


(6)

from muse to medusa all hot

when recused the accuser will rot


(7)

the fire became
water the water
a body of vapor

the tiger proclaimed
slaughter the slaughter
modified nature


(8)

weary weary weary
and a fury

dreary dreary dreary
in missouri


(9)

mirror of the self, mature

silver on my shelf, secure


(10)

Sitar of the tongue, how does one hear?

Guitar once unstrung is never clear


(11)

Unlike the bird
according to nature
but as a god


Hiding his word
under their strictures
rebuff’d with a nod


(12)

in front of a greater king
a king lesser great

unsung who will later sing
will more sing still late


(13)

minute
commentaries


hirsute
dromedaries


(14)

secure a cut
a sure shot
on the bull's eye

skewer a cunt
the whore hot
on the driveby


(15)

against the
unflinching light

the eye
turns emerald


beneath the
diminished night

the sky burns
unheralded

Jerome Rothenberg, 15 antiphonals for Haroldo
Variations on English translations of Haroldo De Campos

hand-stitched paperback, 18pp, numbered edition of 250

Edinburgh: sine wave peak, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-909744-06-6